12/28/2017

National Security Law Today Podcast Features Steven Pelak on Bringing Terrorism to Trial

Holland & Hart partner Steven Pelak appeared as a guest on the National Security Law Today Podcast from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security. In the first of a two-part podcast series that aired Dec. 21, Pelak discusses how the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act has allowed private litigation to be used as a deterrent against state sponsored terrorism.

In the first episode, Pelak traces the history of the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, the exception allowing civil actions against designated state sponsors of international terrorism, and describes how individuals have used the courts to obtain judgments and recover damages. Pelak explains the development of diplomatic and sovereign immunity laws in the 19th century and how the recent legislative changes were spurred by terrorist events from the Iran hostage crisis to the PanAm Lockerbie bombing to 9/11.

The second episode that aired on Dec. 28 continued the discussion with further updates on recent activity in the realm of sovereignty immunity. Pelak provides background information and details regarding the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act (34 U.S.C. § 20144), and pragmatic advice on practice and legal writing for young lawyers.

Steve Pelak practices in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and focuses his practice on civil and criminal enforcement proceedings and internal investigations. Pelak has significant experience as a federal prosecutor and in private practice handling and supervising the investigation and prosecution of export control, embargo, fraud, bribery, public corruption, immigration, labor union corruption, terrorism, and other white collar and violent crimes. Pelak served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Washington D.C. for 18 years and 6 years as the Justice Department’s National Coordinator for Export Controls and Economic Sanctions and the Principal Deputy Chief and then Acting Chief of the Counterespionage Section within the National Security Division of the Justice Department. As one of the chief advocates for victims’ rights and the United States Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act, Pelak also counsels individuals and corporations how to seek compensation against state sponsors and seek relief from the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.

The full interview is available at NSL Today.

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